We Are All One Crowd
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,but have not love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13
Every night after dinner we walk past two houses and across one street and we enter a whole other world; a sub-culture of dog owners and dog enthusiasts and well, all things dog and the 1st time we went, I thought—
Uhm, OK, this is not really our crowd.
You know all those Wal-mart shopper photos that pop up on facebook with people wearing pajamas and babies are in diapers (as in only their diapers)? Well the dog-park people remind me of that.
Not exactly our crowd.
I’ve felt this way before. When Coulter was three, our babysitter invited us to the car races. Think dirt track, loud cars, tatooed men drinking beer from dixie cups and eating frito chili pie (which midwesterners call walking tacos. so weird.) Anyway I look around and I say to my husband, “I don’t really think this is our crowd.” And then I look over and I see our pastor. And our pastor’s wife. And the worship leader. And a teacher friend. And of course our babysitter and I think, Oh. My gosh. This is our crowd!
Anyway, we arrive and Emma Claire chats up the dog people and I hear “Welcome Tiger! Good to see ya!” and once again, I think, Oh. My. Gosh. Maybe this IS our crowd.
If it were up to me, I would talk to no one. I just go there in hopes of letting Tiger burn off some energy so that he will hopefully quit eating all of our shoes. But when you’re Emma Claire’s Mother, shy is not an option. This is the social event of the season. Or at least the day.
She approaches, hands on hips and says, “Hi! I’m Emma Claire. This is Tiger. He’s a yorkie and a SKIT-zoo.”
Meet Patty and that’s her dog Luke. She’s friendly but she once subbed as my dental hygienist and I have a hard time making small talk with someone who knows that much about my teeth.
Then there’s Jim. Jim who laments, “I can’t believe I paid $2800 for that damn dog. Supposed to be the smartest damn dog around and he can’t even fetch a ball. Damn dog.”
I stare. Stunned. $2800? For a dog? The guy looks like he doesn’t know where his next meal’s coming from and the dog, from all appearances, is a mut.
Next comes war-hero and pregnant wife. They are angry. “Ellie don’t like small dogs. She’s skittish. (Meta-message: Ellie don’t like Tiger!) Paid $400 for her,$800 for pair, only I was still in Afganistan so my wife fetched ’em but they’re pure bred. Momma’s pure bred and these babies are black as the day is night. (Wait, black as the DAY is night?!?) Crazy woman in here let her ‘ol mut jump up on Elllie and I said, ‘hey, My dog will take your dog down and I’m not kidding.’ He had 30 lbs on the mut. Plus she didn’t even have tags!”
Oh my gosh, we’re supposed to have tags? Note to self, get tags for Coulter. Wait, I mean Tiger.
Oh, and then there’s grouchy old woman. Now, I have a real heart for older people. I learned it from my mother. She takes seriously the command to care for the widows and orphans and anyway, I love the elderly. But here’s the thing. You don’t just turn sweet when you get old. If you’re a grouchy young woman, chances are great that you’re gonna be a grouchy OLD woman and this woman is grouchy.
She comes into the dog park but leaves her dog OUTSIDE. As in she leaves her dog alone in the grassy area where the slides and swings and children are. The dog tried to follow us in and she screamed , “SHUT THE DOOR!”
Uhm, OK. Please don’t yell at me.
And finally, there’s creepy guy.
Creepy guy makes my alarms go off. He has that look. That look that says, “I just got out of jail for molesting children and I don’t have a dog and I don’t have a child, but I like hanging out at parks.”
You know, that kind of look.
No surprise, Emma Claire likes creepy guy and starts a conversation. I see that he actually has a dog and I begin to relax. He tells me “you did good” after learning the very special “my mom’s 40” news and that helps his case. A little.
But not a lot, because it’s kinda creepy to tell a perfect stranger that “she did good.”
But then it hit me. My kids don’t judge. They don’t care that you paid $2800 for a dog and they don’t care that you’re wearing your pajamas and they don’t know that you’re kinda creepy. Because in fact you’re not creepy. You’re just a wal-mart dude out catching some balls with your dog.
Last night Coulter asked me about 9/11. How do you explain that kind of hate? There are no words. There is no understanding.
I look around and it hits me that my children have no crowds.
How do you explain 9/11 to a child? You say, they didn’t know Jesus and they were raised to believe “their crowd” was superior to “our crowd.” They were taught evil and hatred and in the simplist of terms they were bullies and they were arrogant and they believed that their crowd was better. And I wonder.
Where did they learn that?